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Nanoporous gold sponge makes DNA detector

Possible new rapid tests for human, animal, plant pathogens

Date:
September 4, 2015
Source:
University of California - Davis
Summary:
Sponge-like nanoporous gold could be key to new devices to detect disease-causing agents in humans and plants, according to two recent articles.
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Nanoporous gold is like a sponge of tiny pores. It could be used to make new devices to detect pathogens.
Credit: Erkin ?eker, UC Davis

Sponge-like nanoporous gold could be key to new devices to detect disease-causing agents in humans and plants, according to UC Davis researchers.

In two recent papers in Analytical Chemistry, a group from the UC Davis Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering demonstrated that they could detect nucleic acids using nanoporous gold, a novel sensor coating material, in mixtures of other biomolecules that would gum up most detectors. This method enables sensitive detection of DNA in complex biological samples, such as serum from whole blood.

"Nanoporous gold can be imagined as a porous metal sponge with pore sizes that are a thousand times smaller than the diameter of a human hair," said Erkin ?eker, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Davis and the senior author on the papers. "What happens is the debris in biological samples, such as proteins, is too large to go through those pores, but the fiber-like nucleic acids that we want to detect can actually fit through them. It's almost like a natural sieve."

Rapid and sensitive detection of nucleic acids plays a crucial role in early identification of pathogenic microbes and disease biomarkers. Current sensor approaches usually require nucleic acid purification that relies on multiple steps and specialized laboratory equipment, which limit the sensors' use in the field. The researchers' method reduces the need for purification.

"So now we hope to have largely eliminated the need for extensive sample clean-up, which makes the process conducive to use in the field," ?eker said.

The result is a faster and more efficient process that can be applied in many settings.

The researchers hope the technology can be translated into the development of miniature point-of-care diagnostic platforms for agricultural and clinical applications.

"The applications of the sensor are quite broad ranging from detection of plant pathogens to disease biomarkers," said ?eker.

For example, in agriculture, scientists could detect whether a certain pathogen exists on a plant without seeing any symptoms. And in sepsis cases in humans, doctors might determine bacterial contamination much more quickly than at present, preventing any unnecessary treatments.

Other authors of the studies were Pallavi Daggumati, Zimple Matharu, and Ling Wang in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC Davis.

This work is funded by the UC Davis Research Investments in the Sciences and Engineering (RISE) program, which encourages interdisciplinary work to solve problems facing the world today, as well as the UC Lab Fees Research Program and the National Science Foundation.


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Materials provided by University of California - Davis. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal References:

  1. Pallavi Daggumati, Zimple Matharu, Ling Wang, Erkin Seker. Biofouling-Resilient Nanoporous Gold Electrodes for DNA Sensing. Analytical Chemistry, 2015; 87 (17): 8618 DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.5b02969
  2. Pallavi Daggumati, Zimple Matharu, Erkin Seker. Effect of Nanoporous Gold Thin Film Morphology on Electrochemical DNA Sensing. Analytical Chemistry, 2015; 87 (16): 8149 DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.5b00846

Cite This Page:

University of California - Davis. "Nanoporous gold sponge makes DNA detector: Possible new rapid tests for human, animal, plant pathogens." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150904144502.htm>.
University of California - Davis. (2015, September 4). Nanoporous gold sponge makes DNA detector: Possible new rapid tests for human, animal, plant pathogens. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 25, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150904144502.htm
University of California - Davis. "Nanoporous gold sponge makes DNA detector: Possible new rapid tests for human, animal, plant pathogens." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150904144502.htm (accessed May 25, 2017).

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